Axel Morgenthaler  /  Obsolescence

Traces from the past are too often brutally erased, radically eliminated from our visual environment. In our society of extreme hygiene, that seeks to modernize and regulate everything leaving little room for aging, degradation, to be left adrift. Transported by the buildings of our city, the subtle movement of time demonstrates our progressive evolution. They are the visual markers, the comforting beacons that tell our history creating affection for our city that is truly unique to it. Granted, the demolitions of entire areas or buildings for the profit of more productive arrangements are sometimes necessary. The obsession with quasi systematically destroying however, must be restrained. Created by Quartier Éphémère for the purpose of revaluing urban ruins, the intent of Obsolescence is to enhance the sensibility of the public towards abandoned urban spaces and to their industrial heritage.

The artists who intervene on site awaken this sensibility. That is to say that their interventions are designed to draw our attention away from the daily same old of the banal everyday. They invite you to simply look, sometimes from another angle or different perspective, an overshadowed aspect of urban landscape.

The pilot project of this series of actions will take place in the old door of the ruined Canada Maltage building on the shores of the Lachine Canal. This ancient silo, abandoned for over ten years holds many remarkable architectural features; similar to some of the many silos made from cooked earth at the end of the 19th century, it is characterized as unique in North America.

Quartier Éphémère invited the lighting conceptualist Axel Morgenthaler to intervene on the façades of the buildings exterior. With the help of a bundle of lights, his installation intends to revalue cooked earth silos and the suspended small village at their summit.

Axel Morgenthaler

Renowned in Québec before anything for being one of the most innovated visual conceptualists, greatly appreciated as a scenographer, lighting designer and multimedia artist, Axel Morgenthaler has Swiss origins but lives in Montreal. Through light (his primary medium) and other media such as, video, multimedia and cinema he explores new concepts in scenographic, visual and architectural. When we recognize the influence and interaction of different artistic disciplines found in his creations, these are easily perceived to be true works of art.

For the past 15 years, Axel Morgenthaler has signed over 70 lighting concepts and scenographies for choreographers (Édouard Lock, Marie Chouinard, Ginette Laurin, etc.), set designers (Robert Lepage, Wajdi Mouawad, Paola de Vasconcelos) and has taken part in research projects and many electronic arts events. Morgenthaler has collaborated with Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon in the creations of virtual theatres, as well as in international opera productions with the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Shauspielhaus in Vienna. In 2000, he held a solo sow in France comprising of many visual art installations. In the same year, he took part in the first edition of the Montreal Festival of Lights where he presented the work Photonic Playground. In 2001, he was invited to the event “The Quebec Autumn in New York” in order to present an interactive light installation entitled BeamBeat. This year, he has notably created a lighting concept for the celebrated contemporary opera Don Juan.